Rook was published by Parker Brothers in the early 1900s. It is similar to the traditional Canadian game 200, but the “official” version uses a custom deck. There are now countless variations of Rook. The ones described here are played using a standard deck.
Players 4 in fixed, cross-wise partnership.
Cards A standard 52-card deck plus one joker, 53 cards. Aces are high. The cards are assigned the following point values:
Rook The joker takes the place of the Rook card. It is the lowest ranked trump card, below the 2. When there is no trump, the Rook is the only trump card, and when it is led to a trick the other players may follow with any card.
Points There are 40 points in each suit and 20 points for the Rook, bringing the total number of points per hand to 180.
Objective Work with your partner to take at least as many points in tricks as your bid.
A bid represents the minimum number of points the bidder thinks they and their partner can take in tricks. The minimum bid is 70, and each subsequent bid must be a higher multiple of 5 but not higher than 180. A player may pass instead of bidding, but they may not renter the auction.
The declarer takes the entire nest into their hand, discards 5 cards, and then announces the trump suit or no trump. The discarded cards are set aside and go to the team that wins the final trick.
The player to the left of the declarer leads the first trick. Standard trick-taking rules apply.
The team that wins the final trick captures all of the cards in the nest. Each team now counts how many points they took.
If the declarer’s team took at least as many points in tricks as their bid, then they score the points that they took. Otherwise, they lose the value of their bid. The opposing team always scores the points they took in tricks.
Scores are capped at 430. Neither team can have a score between 430 and 500. If the declaring team would have 500 or more points after winning a hand, they score the points and win the game.
The team that scores 500 points first wins.
The deck is the same. Each player is dealt 10 cards and the nest gets 3. After the declarer declares trump, they call for a card, and the player who holds the card is their partner for the hand. This player does not reveal themselves, except through playing the called card. The other three players play together to prevent the declarer’s team from making their bid. If the declarer calls a card in their own hand or in the nest, they play alone against the other four. Scoring is the same except that each player individually scores the points their team made.